How Well Do You Handle Your Inner Critic?
Most of us have an Inner Critic, an internal “voice” that judges our actions or inaction, tells us what’s wrong with us and how we should or should not be. This constant judgment can lead to debilitating feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety. While it’s difficult to silence the critic completely, there are ways to cope with it. Answer these true/false questions to discover how well you handle your Inner Critic.
True__ False__ 1. I can’t seem to do anything right. I feel depressed and incapacitated by the constant nagging, judging voice inside me.
True__ False__ 2. I don’t necessarily realize I’m at the effect of my Inner Critic, but I often compare myself to others and never quite measure up. I feel inadequate.
True__ False__ 3. Just when I’m about to embark on something new and exciting, such as a job or relationship, my Inner Critic kicks up doubt and fear to prevent me from pursuing the opportunity.
True__ False__ 4. I have difficulty staying in the present moment because my internal judging voice loudly intrudes, dictating what I should and shouldn’t do.
True__ False__ 5. Because of that voice, I second-guess my choices and actions and don’t trust myself. As a result, I worry that I’ll make a big mistake and something bad will happen.
True__ False__ 1. I see my Inner Critic as a misguided ally who wants to help or protect me. I look for the positive intention behind what it says and embrace that rather than the negative message.
True__ False__ 2. I’ve gotten to know the themes my Inner Critic harps on, so I can distinguish those voices from other more useful internal dialogue.
True__ False__ 3. It’s helpful to notice when my Inner Critic is present. I breathe deeply and center myself to release fear and anxiety and return to a more peaceful place.
True__ False__ 4. Giving my critical inner voices funny names and descriptions —such as Taskmonster or Paula Perfectionist—helps me diminish their power and not take them seriously.
True__ False__ 5. As I’ve become skilled at handling the Inner Critic, it bothers me less often. I still hear it sometimes, but I don’t believe what it says and it rarely affects me adversely.
If you answered true more often in Set 1 and false more often in Set 2, you may wish to learn some effective ways to handle your Inner Critic. Please call if you’d like support in exploring this further.
[Used with permission, ©2012 Claire Communications]
Dr. Bill Duke is the founder and principal treatment provider at Awakening Recovery Center. Awakening provides alcohol treatment and state licensed DUI treatment programs in Jacksonville, Florida.